‘Her Story’ Is Our Story

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The Her Story Awards evening honored more than 60 women who have made significant contributions to their communities. (photo by the author)

On Tuesday evening, 12 March 2018, the Caucus of African American Leaders saluted more than 60 women active in their communities at the Wiley H. Bates Legacy Center, Annapolis. In front of a standing-room-only audience, the Caucus commemorated their achievements with its new Her Story Awards.

The many impressive stories about contributions for the betterment of society include that of Alderwoman Elly Tierney, now serving her first term on the Annapolis City Council. She sponsored legislation that had the City of Annapolis offer an apology for the 1906 lynching of Henry Davis. A memorial commemorates his life in the city’s Brewer Hill Cemetery, while honoring lynching victims in the State of Maryland. Former Annapolis Mayor Ellen Moyer dedicated the memorial in 2001.

Dr. Charlestine R. Fairley serves as the chief executive officer of the Community Action Agency, a nonprofit anti-poverty organization serving low-income Anne Arundel County residents. A retired educator, Dr. Fairley has mentored numerous students over the years and was a guarantor for Maryland’s Coretta Scott King Memorial Garden in Edgewater, honoring Mrs. King.

Victoria Bruce, Arundel Patriot publisher, is also an author and filmmaker, whose stunning documentary on the friendship of the late Annapolis Mayor Roger Moyer Sr. and the community activist Joseph “Zastrow” Simms captured the complicated issue of race and racism in the city’s history.

Many other contributions were celebrated during the evening, topped off with a cake designed by Dr. Mary Dadone. With the work of so many women being recognized and honored, we are reminded that “Her-Story” is really our story—all of society’s—because to appreciate history, we must learn the history of women. An American history textbook that does not include abolitionist Sojourner Truth, Texas Congresswoman Barbara Jordan, and Chicago educator Marva Collins is not conveying history; it’s only telling partial stories.

Carl Snowden leads the African American Caucus in Anne Arundel County. He is a life-long activist and columnist for the Capital Newspaper and The Arundel Patriot.

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